The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings — twice as many as the penis — yet remains significantly less sensitive than angry right-wingers when someone makes a joke about them.
You may have noticed how comedian Jo Brand’s milkshake joke brought all the triggered snowflakes to the yard: referring to members of the public throwing liquid dairy over UK neo-fascists like Nigel Farage and the one who calls himself ‘Tommy Robinson’, Brand quipped: “Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?”.
Cue outrage. Images of acid attack victims (almost exclusively women doused by men with actual acid, not milkshake) alongside images of Jo Brand, with shouty ALL CAPS denunciations to SACK HER NOW; WHAT A DISGRACE; OFF WITH HER HEAD, etc. As though Brand were advocating actual violence, and not expressing opinion via comedy. You know, like a comedian.
She has also said this: “I took my husband to the hospital yesterday to have 17 stitches out — that’ll teach him to buy me a sewing kit for my birthday.” Yet no online rants illustrated with images of embroidered husbands. And this: “Men – can’t live with them, can’t shoot them.”
She also said: “I find comedy fascinating — there is a huge difference between what people find funny.”
No shit, Sherlock. But this isn’t about what people find funny or unfunny. It’s about shutting people up. It’s about manufactured outrage being weaponised into actual censorship.
It’s about double standards, hypocrisy, and in the case of female comedians (and politicians), the relentless misogyny which has morphed from onstage heckling into online trolling.
“It’s very frightening and I wouldn’t blame any woman from wanting to withdraw from that,” Brand told a tabloid a month ago, despite being perhaps the most fearless female comic alive, now that Joan Rivers is making suicide jokes in heaven.
Or as Bret Easton Ellis, in his book White, puts it “Sometimes the funniest, most dangerous comedy does not reassure you that everything is going to be OK.”
As we speak, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has a cartoon representing the Women’s World Cup — a vagina with a football instead of the (highly sensitive, remember) clitoris, and a lame joke about sex.
Is this hilarious? No, not much. Do I want to go around their office with a gun? Also no. Charlie Hebdo offends everyone from Italian earthquake victims to dead Kurdish toddlers to the prophet Muhammad. Don’t like it?
Don’t buy it.
Let’s save our outrage for climate catastrophe and the rise of fascism, rather than diverting it into hissy fits about comedians.